The Richmond Spiders weren’t a team that many expected to be competing for a 2014 NCAA Tournament berth this late in the college basketball season, but with an unexpected win in Atlantic 10 conference play over the No. 13 Massachusetts Minutemen, they might just be able to steal a place in the Big Dance.
UMass was heavily favored in the game with the Spiders, but a fantastic defensive performance by Richmond to limit the Minutemen to just two made three point shots on the night helped lead to the upset. Massachusetts center Cady Lalanne had a 10 point, 13 rebound double-double and went 5-5 from the field, but couldn’t do it all by himself. Richmond guard Kendall Anthony had an outstanding game in which he led all scorers with 21 points en route to a 58-55 Spiders win.
When you look at Richmond’s non-conference schedule, they came into A-10 play without a 2014 NCAA Tournament ready resume. However, with the marquee win over UMass, coupled with wins over the Dayton Flyers and Belmont Bruins, their chances at a 2014 NCAA Tournament berth have skyrocketed.
Don’t get me wrong, the Spiders have a lot of work left to do. They’ll have to beat tough in-conference, potential 2014 NCAA Tournament teams like the VCU Rams, the George Washington Colonials, the Saint Louis Billikens and the Flyers if they are to stand a chance. Their inclusion in the NCAA Tournament requires somewhat of a miracle, but remember, this is college basketball, and miracles have happened before.